Indonesia blocks web-based Telegram app

The app has come under fire in Russian Federation after the state communications watchdog threatened to ban it in June, saying the company behind the service had failed to submit company details for registration.

Samuel Pangerapan, the director general of informatics applications at the ministry, said the app is used to recruit Indonesians into armed groups and to spread hate and methods for carrying out attacks including bomb making.

“We have specific procedures, especially if there is any communication that involves terrorism and its financing, and the promotion and possession of negative extremist elements”, he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also home minister, said whereas elements related to terrorism have been found in services such as YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram, they have not been detected on the Telegram application so far.

“However, the government will continue to monitor activities in the application without interfering in private conversations”, he said at the Jakel Mall Hari Raya open house here today. If a social media platform does not comply with the government’s rules, the government would initially limit the advertisements that appear on the platform, hurting their business potential in the country.

In May, two suicide bombers killed three Indonesian police officers and injured several others at a bus station in Jakarta.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was quick to add that the Government has no intention to meddle in the personal communications of Telegram users in Malaysia.

As of February 2016, the instant messaging service has over 100 million active users sending 15 billion messages per day.

However, the secret chat option can be accessed only on the device upon which the secret chat was initiated and the device upon which the secret chat was received.

Despite such actions, Telegram still maintains its policy of not subjecting itself to politically-motivated censorship by the governments based on their restrictions on freedom of speech, stating that it allowed “peaceful expression of alternative opinions”.

Telegram did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Following Indonesia’s ban on popular messaging app Telegram last Friday, the government justified it on the grounds that the service was being used to spread radical content online and so it would take a firm stance against any social media platforms used to spread such content in the country.